NWT addresses Universal Child Care Benefit payments

Exemption for retroactive payment for Income Assistance clients

YELLOWKNIFE, NT (July 24, 2015) – Premier Bob McLeod today addressed the increased Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) monthly payment from the Government of Canada, effective January 2015.   

On January 1, 2015, the UCCB was expanded to include a new benefit for children aged 6 through 17, and the payments that parents receive for children under the age of 6 were increased. On a monthly basis, for each child under the age of 6, families are eligible to receive $160 and a benefit of $60 for each child between 6 and 17. The UCCB is a taxable benefit and eligible residents are expected to receive retroactive payments over the next few weeks.

“The increase to the Universal Child Care Benefit is welcome; however there are implications for Northwest Territories residents currently on income assistance,” said Premier McLeod. “Without a change in approach, these retroactive UCCB payments would reduce the amount income assistance clients will receive from the Income Assistance program, as the UCCB is considered income.”

Under the NWT Social Assistance Act and Income Assistance Regulations, the Income Assistance (IA) program has an annual $1,200 unearned income exemption. This exemption was introduced in September 2007 to allow for clients to keep some of their unearned income which includes (but is not limited to) GST tax credits, income tax refunds, and gifts.

Under current policy, both the increase and the retroactive UCCB payments would be considered income. As a result of this, IA clients’ August payments would decrease, and therefore they would not necessarily benefit from the full retroactive payment in the same way as other NWT residents with children.

“Helping our residents live strong and independent lives is one of the goals of the 17th Assembly. To do that, we must be prepared to be innovative and flexible with our programs and services,” said the Premier. “As a result, the GNWT has made the decision to exempt the federal retroactive payment.”

For media inquiries, contact:

Roya Grinsted
Cabinet Communications
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 669-2308
Email: roya_grinsted@gov.nt.ca